What’s hot: Red snapper fishing couldn’t get any easier than it is right now. We are concentrating in the 120- to 150-foot depths. These fish have ferocious appetites and usually devour any live or frozen bait as long as it is presented to them in the right way. It is a good idea to start fishing with sardines until the bite is in full swing, then as things start to slow down switch over to a live bait. During the course of a feed the larger and more dominant snapper will move up in the water column. To target these fish try using what is called a knocker rig. This rig consists of a smaller egg lead usually about ¼ to ½ ounce placed on the main line right above the hook. The smaller lead will present the bait in such a way that it looks like a stunned baitfish sinking to the bottom and therefore an easy target. Red grouper fishing is excellent right now. Concentrate in depths of 110 feet or more. Look for the red grouper to be under the bait stacks that are scattered on the edges of the hard bottom areas. These bait stacks usually consist of either Spanish sardines or vermillion snapper. One of the fastest ways to tell if there are grouper on these spots is what’s called a drift drop. This is done by simply pulling just up current or upwind of your desired location and dropping a few test baits right in the middle of the fish show. If the spot has fish you should know within 10-15 seconds of hitting the bottom. If during your test drop you catch a decent size grouper then you should anchor right away, because too many drifts will scatter the fish and stop the bite.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.